*Author’s Note: Very brief update this evening, I’ll follow up with a more detailed update tomorrow.*
Gas is flowing once more from the Baumgarten pipeline hub in Eastern Austria following a major explosion that killed one worker and injured eighteen. Gas Connect Austria said the site had been shut down while firefighters worked to bring the blaze under control. Gas deliveries to parts of southern Austria have been affected. The pipeline that runs through Baumgarten brings gas from Russia to Italy, Slovenia, Croatia, Hungary, and other European nations including Germany. Italy is so dependent upon the gas being piped through Baumgarten that it anticipated the worst and declared a state of emergency shortly after the explosion. At current, it seems that the move was premature. A major disruption in gas supply doesn’t seem likely right now.
Nevertheless, the Baumgarten explosion highlights how fragile the European natural gas pipeline network is, and how susceptible it is to a major disruption, man made or otherwise.